It’s finally here. After what seems like a lifetime proper football is back in our lives and the excitement that has been building over the summer can finally spill out for all to see. For us Manchester United fans, this season is particularly exciting thanks to an addition or two and the buzz around the dawn of a new season is refreshing, to say the least. But who will the new manager have to rely upon as he strives for the success us fans are all accustomed to? That’s what I’m here to tell you.
David De Gea
The list is in no particular order, and so to start off I’ve gone for the most obvious choice of the bunch. De Gea has been absolutely critical to Manchester United since finding his form (as all goalkeepers are) and until now the points he has earned his side have been crucial to keeping firstly a top half finish and more recently European football within the grasp of his managers. This season offers a greater meaning to any games won or drawn thanks to the hands of the superb Spaniard. De Gea is the last line of defence, and that makes him very important.
The England defender had been one that most wouldn’t let near the first eleven two years ago, but all of a sudden he has matured into a dependable and exceptional cog in the machine. That maturity makes him a contender for the captaincy and a critical figure in the development of Eric Bailly. If he can have the effect he did on Daley Blind then there will be no issues at Centre Half next season.
Of course I would love to be writing Paul Pogba as the midfielder to be the linchpin, but he hasn’t signed quite yet. This means the mantle falls to the feet of another Spaniard. Capable of tenacity and an eye for goal mean a lot of attacking movement can come from Herrera, he just needs to be on his game regularly enough for this to come to the fore.
The kid didn’t do all that badly last season, hey? Now in his second year in Manchester he has to be careful not to contract ‘second season syndrome’ and start drifting into the background on a match day. I have plenty of faith that this won’t happen, the lad has ability to burn and is more than a handful for opposition defences, but United need their French dynamo to be just that once more for Mourinho.
The captain had begun to impress in Central Midfield under Louis van Gaal but has since been reassured of a more advanced role under Mourinho. This means he has to start scoring again, and regularly. A measly four goals off Sir Bobby Charlton’s record should be motivation enough. Capturing another league title could also be the medicine for Rooney finding form once more.
The mercurial Swede’s long-awaited move to Old Trafford has galvanised the feel-good factor at the club. Just him being here is enough to have everyone believing once more, and preseason has only justified the feeling. If Ibrahimovic can still stir up his magic then he could be the difference between the sweet taste of victory or the bitter pill of another disappointing campaign.
What more can be said about the teenager whose meteoric rise to the top couldn’t be foreseen by anybody. His pace offers a different threat, as does his skill and a deadly eye for goals. Rooney and Ibrahimovic won’t have a full season in them so Rashford won’t be a bit part by any means. Continuing his unprecedented emergence will surely mean success.
Another new face in Manchester and another that could be pivotal. He created goals for fun at Dortmund and scored one or two as well. Goals from other areas of the park have been missing in recent seasons, and when they’ve been present have been vitally important in clinching the trophies it has.
Nobody will forget the horror injury suffered by the teenager last season, and it robbed United of a player that was growing into his role more and more by the game. Consistency is key, and a consistent Left Back will go a long way into creating a stable squad. Also the threat he offers attacking wise goes a long way, Shaw can create chances for his strikers to profit from and defensively is very sound. It could be a big season for the England man.
His debut season for Manchester United could be a big one. Chris Smalling was crying out for a partner last season that isn’t just a stop gap (as Daley Blind did do a good job to his eternal credit). Having an out-and-out centre-back as his companion will make his life much easier, and this is where Bailly comes in. He’s also shown he is very capable thus far, and all accounts point to his future looking very good.